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grows harder and harder, and his means of subsistence fail, he robs both wife and children of their sustenance, of their very clothing, in order to purchase indulgence for his beastly appetite ; thus living, as it is just to say, on the blood of his offspring, and drinking the tears of that broken-hearted woman who is, perhaps, obliged to wander a common mourner, from door to door, to beg for bread!
Thus do we see the very fountain and source of industry, of frugality, of wealth, dried up and destroyed.
You may give a man the bodily powers of a giant, and the intellectual energies of a demi-god, but if his social and inoral nature be debased by intemperance, the gist is utterly valueless. A community of such men, would, in a single generation, become a race of savages, as destitute of any thing deserving the name of national wealth, as of national respectability.
We will now dwell for a few moments on one other principle in the science of political economy, and then dismiss the subject.
Writers on political economy, speak of something which they call useless expenditure, or unprofitable consumption ; which, though it be not very accurately defined, is universally described as so much absolute loss. Thus if I purchase a hundred dollars' worth of gunpowder, and explode it merely for my own amusement, this is useless expenditure and unprofitable consumption. In general terms, it may be said that whatever is consumed without the accomplishment of any useful purpose, without yielding any return, is in fact so much wasted and thrown away.
All have heard of the foolish profusion practised at the court of the Egyptian Cleopatra, when pearls of royal price were dissolved and drank in goblets of wine. Every person is ready to pronounce such an act a ridiculous waste of wealth. But how many have ever reflected that habits of intemperance occasion a waste of property, of strength, of intellect, of character, far more prodigal and far inore hurtful to individuals, and to the whole fabric of society! Such is, however, the real fact !
We have shown that the use of ardent spirit as a drink is never productive of benefit. The money paid for it is, therefore, thrown away! We have shown that the use of it is not merely of no benefit, but an enormous injury, in an economical point of view, to body, mind, and heart. The waste which it occasions, is, therefore, by no means circumscribed by the price of the drink.
If the intemperance of the United States was an injury to national wealth only to the extent of the money expended for alcoholic drinks, it would nevertheless amount to the prodigious sum of $50,000,000 every year!
But in addition to this immense expenditure of gold and silver, let us estimate the waste of time; the diminished productiveness of land, of labor, and of capital; the loss of strength, of health, of intellect, of good habits; the cost of the paupers and of the crimes which intemperance occasions ; the accidental losses attributable to the same cause; and the vast shortening of human life; and the whole sum of absolute waste rises above the startling amount of $100,000,000 per annum ; a sum more than seven times as large as that paid by the United States to France for the whole of that immense territory which stretches westward from the river Mississippi to the Pacific ocean.
And this enormous expenditure is every year incurred by a people who boast that their national trait is frugality! a , people who pretend to be the most moral upon earth! a people who rebelled against their parent country and endured all the horrors of the revolution rather than pay a few thousand pounds in taxation! a people comparatively poor in monied capital, who depend almost wholly upon labor for subsistence, and who are surrounded by countless modes of employing their capital in profitable investments! Truly we are a prudent, a frugal, a moral, a consistent, a virtuous people.
THE TRUE PRINCIPLE OF SLAVERY, TOGETHER WITH THE PRESENT ATTITUDE AND RELATIONS OF THE SUBJECT TO THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY.
That public opinion has been advancing, for years past, towards the extinction of slavery, no sane and observant man can doubt.
This crying iniquity has aroused the
thoughtful and conscientious of all parties, to a pungent feeling of their responsibility in relation to it, and to an earnest solicitude for its extermination. All serious and candid thinkers on the subject, are ready to maintain, that the brutal degradation, the wanton disfranchisement of manhood, and of the rights and duties of manhood, which have prevalence under the name of slavery within our territory, ought, if not immediately, yet ultimately and utterly, to be abolished. Nor have they been content with mere convictions, hopes or schemes. Their belief has not been speculative merely, but practical and in earnest, and they have put heart and hand to the work. They have striven for the extinction of slavery in the only practicable mode of accomplishing it, -by harrowing up that incrustation of guilty ignorance which had obscured and belittled its enormity to ordinary view, and making men's souls thrill and vibrate with quick and hearty yearnings towards the oppressed.
It may seem a work of supererogation then, to attempt a definition of slavery, or a demonstration of its wrongfulness. But it is to be remembered, that many, very many, even in the northern States, are not thoughtful and conscientious in this matter, who need and ought to be persuaded to become so. Besides, a wide and irreconcileable discrepancy prevails among those who entertain a common abhorrence of the crime of acquiring and holding slaves, as to the specific direction and form of our assaults on the monster. Disputes are prosecuted with zeal, and not seldom with fury, about the sinfulness and innocence of countless relations and attitudes of the master towards the slave, which no force of argument or eloquence can lay to rest. It is to be presumed, that these differences spring from a want of clear and full insight, not of the wrongfulness of slavery, but of the manner and grounds of the wrong. All men feel and know the wickedness of slavery, by an intuition above and antecedent to argument, which impels them to construct arguments and search for reasons against it. By those direct and immediate revelations of conscience to which no man can be a stranger, and which become known and felt as soon as the reflective powers are sufficiently mature to take cognizance of the circumstances to which they apply, and prior to all calculation of consequences, men must be made conscious of their duties, nor can they be blind to them without a wilful and guilty disposition to evade the light, because their VOL. III.
oppression are the practical feelings and principles of both parties, however their speculative arguments may bolster up either. Through the length and breadth of the land, the self-willed and insubordinate, the lawless in power and out of power, usurpers and jacobins, anarchists, disorganizers and despotic aspirants will be found to abet, or to be indifferent concerning slavery. But the champions of the rights of outraged and insulted humanity, are chiefly confined to the conscientious and sturdy supporters of the well regulated restraints of government on the untamed impetuosity and turbulence of the multitude.
Vor populi vor Dei, though an ost perverted, is not a false adage. Where no selfish bias disturbs or diverts the feelings of men from their wonted and spontaneous action, the universal sentiment of the human race is proof paramount to all inquiry and logical demonstration. A unanimous voice of indignation against slavery from all human kind, shows its hideous wickedness to be established by evidence immediate and intuitive, and therefore superior to all derived arguments. Do we then say that the multitude never misjudge when their decisions are conscientious and sincere ? Are we ready to endorse the edicts and manifestos of hot-headed mobs, because they were made in earnest ? Such questions have been perplexing and harassing to many minds; and a few words in elucidation of them may be worth while on their own account, as showing how duties in general are discovered, determined and rightly authenticated, and as being important to our subject. For the abhorrence of slavery which is inborn with us, is often set aside by its abettors as an ignorant and fanatical prejudice. Let us first determine, then, how far and within what limits the clearly and audibly announced sense of the human race is ultimate authority in regard to duties. Next, we will test slavery by this standard, and, in doing it, we will endeavor to extract from its varied combinations and modifications, and to set forth nakedly to our inspection the precise element which constitutes slavery in distinction from dutiful and hearty subordination, and always excites our abhorrence of it.
Assuredly it is not, absolutely and in every aspect, true, that a doctrine is trustworthy in proportion to its prevalence in the world. This is not our meaning. The grand and unconquerable obstacle to the diffusion and dominion of truth, has ever been, that men would assail it sincerely and honestly. If men singly can be led astray, error becomes contagious to men in masses. If those who are sufficiently enlightened and energetic to be leaders, often make honest 'Warfare against the truth, much more will the short and dim-sighted rush blindfold into the tangles and snares, the mazes and pitfalls elaborately devised against them by the powers of darkness. They become, as it were, neutral factors in the production of error for each other. The blind lead the blind, and those of deeper penetration, who employ their superior energy and compass of vision only to see further in the wrong direction, league their bad eminence with the natural proneness of their subordinates to error. The father of lies not only injects his poisonous fangs into his unwary victims, but coils them together with unyielding gripe and desperate combination under his gigantic folds, thus gaining an increase of power wbich is as that of a chain considered as a whole, beyond that of its mere links regarded separately.
But if it be the part of error to gain with geoinetrical rapidity, truth is also living and self-productive. Like "light its material symbol,” it not only expels but annihilates darkness. The very effort to eradicate error or work conviction, presupposes an assurance, that the deluded are yet competent in some way rightly to discriminate and judge. Were it otherwise, were there not a somewhat to be appealed to, all steps towards human amelioration, would be like the tantalizing struggles of a brute on a tread-mill. No honest and generous spirit has ever felt itself possessed of a truth, without acting on the presumption, that when adequately understood, it would be gladly received by all ingenuous and unperverted minds, or not so properly received, as uncovered within themselves, and laid bare to the light, as that of which they can no more be berest than of their very selves. (Hide it, flee from its presence and authority, the wicked may; destroy it, or fail to recognize it as their rightful ruler, they cannot; if honest, they would not.) Nay, all teachers and philanthropists have a well grounded and inspiriting faith, that their labors will not be in vain with the wily and malicious; that, if truth can be fully and clearly arrayed before them, they will be either enchanted by the heavenly vision, or dismayed by its terrible brightness !
We must then conclude, that all men can, and in the spontaneous, unwarped exercise of their intellective faculties, do,